Fed-up doctor leaving KZN

2008-12-01 00:00

Cape Town — Dr Mark Blaylock, the chief medical officer of Manguzi Hospital in northern KwaZulu-Natal, who was suspended in April for dumping an official photograph of KZN Health MEC Peggy Nkonyeni in a dustbin, will leave the hospital in two weeks’ time to take up a position in Ghana.

In a telephone interview from Manguzi, Blaylock told The Witness that he starts work on January 5 and will be working in general and occupational medicine at the ABA Hospital in Tarkwa, north-east of Accra.

‘’I am leaving because I need a change and because the KZN Department of Health is in absolute disarray. It’s not worth stressing myself out over that,’’ he said.

Blaylock was suspended after he took Nkonyeni’s portrait photo off the wall in February and threw it in the bin in an act of anger linked to the charge of misconduct against fellow doctor, Colin Pfaff.

He was also outraged by comments made by Nkonyeni in which she questioned the integrity of rural doctors and suggested that they care more about profit than their patients.

Following the incident, Blaylock attended a disciplinary hearing, after which he was suspended with effect from May 1. But five days later, his suspension was revoked and he returned to the hospital in June, after a month’s stint in Carletonville.

Nkonyeni has still not released a task team report into allegations against Blaylock.

Meanwhile, Pfaff, who faced misconduct charges (which were later withdrawn) for implementing dual therapy to save babies from HIV, left Manguzi hospital three months ago for Shongwe in Malawi, where he is working as a missionary doctor.

Blaylock said that at the end of the year Manguzi Hospital will be down from 17 doctors at the start of 2008 to 11.

‘’The major problem, as I see it, is that there is no medical leadership in the department of Health.

Commenting on Blaylock’s resignation, the spokesman for the KZN Health Department, Leon Mbangwa, admitted that the resignation is a loss to the department.

“It is always a loss when you lose someone who is experienced and is accustomed to the area and the people they serve. However, it is his decision and we cannot do anything about that.”

Mbangwa also dismissed as untrue Blaylock’s statement that Health is in disarray in the province.

“We do have our problems, which mainly have to do with the budget and this is a national problem which does not only apply to KZN. There are many professionals who are willing to work with us.

What Blaylock should be asking is what he has done to address some of the problems at the department instead of pointing fingers …”

Asked about a report into allegations of misconduct against Blaylock, he said the report has been finalised. “The contents of the report cannot be made public as it contains some information on some people’s medical history. We have, however, forwarded it to the Professional Health Council which should take the necessary steps,” he said.

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